Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not Drinking the PrEP Kool-AIDS


Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of Washington released data gleaned from two African studies, namely "Partners PrEP" and "TDF2." The studies indicated that antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) taken daily by uninfected individuals--an approach known as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis--can reduce HIV acquisition through unprotected heterosexual sex by 62-73 percent, according to Partners PrEP, and nearly 63 percent, according to TDF2. The two drugs tested as PrEP were tenofovir (manufactured by Gilead Sciences and sold as Viread) and tenofovir plus emtricitabine (also manufactured by Gilead Sciences and sold as Truvada).

As the news came across the wires, widespread HIV/AIDS community support followed. AVAC, Project Inform, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and many other advocacy groups as well as the leadership of the International AIDS Society heralded the results. Wednesday's PrEP lovefest mirrored the community's reaction to the results of "iPrEx" or the "Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Initiative," supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The iPrEx results established that men who have sex with men and transgender women who take PrEP are, on average, 44 percent less likely to contract HIV; they were 73 percent less likely to do so if they took daily PrEP 90 percent of the time. It was also announced Wednesday that iPrEx will continue a placebo-less extension of the trial to study those who remained negative.

The results of Partners PrEP, TDF2 and iPrEx are critical indications that HIV can be successfully prevented with biomedical intervention--to a degree. etc..

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